Significant events in 2020

Today is 1st January 2021 and my 1st 2021 YouTube song is ‘Auld Lang Syne‘. Somehow my new year eve was ‘quiet’ (except for the fireworks in my neighbourhood) without TV news etc. I cancelled my TV license in early 2020 mostly to avoid too many Covid related news/stories and repeats. Although I have Netflix account, somehow, I ended up watching lots of Chinese historical dramas on YouTube and various Chinese video streaming sites. A drama which started my crazy binge-watching during 2020 lockdown was ‘The Untamed’. Besides watching the drama 2x, I also discovered that there were interesting fans related or fans connected issues – involving ‘infighting’ between fans or mobs of one of the lead actors in ‘The Untamed’. Like most social media reported events, the actual stories that triggered the infighting between fans are difficult to pinpoint. However, the scale of the infighting – the so-called AO3 (fan friction site) or 227 incidents – resulted in the Chinese government banning/shutting/taking down the fan sites. It’s interesting to note that the AO3 events were triggered in early 2020 well after the release of ‘The Untamed’ and the consequences of the fans infighting escalated during the spread of the virus/Covid-19. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like being a victim caught in the crossfire in the fans friction kingdoms. There are some reported unintended consequences of the pre-and post-taking down of AO3, which the reports themselves read like fan friction but are real events involving real people.

At a personal level, 2020 is the year I started (& ended on New Year’s Eve!) binge-watching Chinese historical dramas :-) . Now I can resonate with the (Chinese dramas) fans and the power of fandoms and social media. It is so easy to get hooked or become addicted in a ‘nice’ and/or a less ‘nice’ addictive way to anything (online or offline) which grabs one’s attention like binge-watching over 40 episodes of dramas without a care of what’s going on around you. I guess one can call this a form of escapism from reality or escape into another world or kingdom – one which gives us momentary or flickering or fleeting fun/pleasure/solitude or whatever one is seeking or desiring. In my case, I happen to love Chinese culture – the language, the colourful and intense portrayal and interweaving of stories with the dramatic background, landscapes, costumes and the amazing acting and beautiful music (e.g., the music and songs in ‘The Untamed’ are simply hauntingly beautiful).

So, my 2021 resolution is no more binge-watching of Chinese historical dramas. Instead, I’ll be exploring the world of online games or gaming. Mmm… is gaming (like gambling?) ‘binge-playing’ of games? This new exploratory into online games started in late November 2020 when I started a secondment role with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The secondment title is ‘Engagement Specialist’ for the #Age Appropriate Design Code (The #Children’s Code). More information at Children’s-Code-hub.

In ushering in 2021, I can only hope that the significant life-changing 2020 events e.g. Covid-19 lockdown, binge-watching, Brexit, privacy and contact tracing, will be kinder or less significant in 2021 to me and others.

Happy binge-playing!

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